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Apr 12, 2024 (Newsletter Issue 4/24)
Zambian Registry Uses 12th Edition of Nice Classification
In January 2024, the Zambia Trade Mark Registry issued a notice regarding the update of the NICE classification system from the 11th edition to the 12th edition. Although the notice did not specify the implementation year, further inquiry with the Registry confirmed they are now using the 12th edition, version 2024.


Mar 05, 2024 (Newsletter Issue 2/24)
Madrid e-Filing Now Available in Gambia
The Gambia has signed up to WIPO’s Madrid e-Filing service! It’s a major milestone in the history of the international trademark system’s online filing solution – the Gambia is the first Madrid System Member in the African region to join.


Aug 11, 2022 (Newsletter Issue 11/22)
Cape Verde Accedes to ARIPO System
On 14 July 2022, Cape Verde deposited the instruments of Accession to the Lusaka Agreement, Banjul Protocol, Harare Protocol, Swakopmund Protocol, and Arusha Protocol with the ARIPO Director General.

As Cape Verde becomes the 22nd ARIPO Member State, from now on users of the ARIPO system will be able to designate Cape Verde as one of the designated countries for the application of the following Intellectual Property Rights: trademarks, patents, industrial designs, protection of traditional knowledge and expressions of folklore, and protection on new varieties of plants.

Source: www.;

May 19, 2022 (Newsletter Issue 6/22)
Amendments to Banjul Protocol in Force
The Administrative Council of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO) has approved amendments to the Banjul Protocol on Marks and the Harare Protocol on Patents and Industrial Designs, which entered into force on 1 January 2022.

Some important changes to the Banjul Protocol are the following:
- There is a fixed period of 12 months within which registration fees must be paid after a trademark application has been accepted and published. If this is not the case, the application is deemed to be withdrawn.
- Early publication of a trademark application may be requested provided that all designated Member States have accepted the application earlier than within the 9-month period. In addition, ARIPO has introduced a rule allowing for the separate publication of refused and conditionally refused applications, which was not previously provided for.
- Compliance with official time limits is strictly enforced. If no extension is granted, a trademark application or registration is deemed to have lapsed one month after the expiry of the time limit.

For more information on the notification to the Banjul Protocol, please click here

The 2022 Edition of the Banjul Protocol on Marks can be seen here


Nov 18, 2021 (Newsletter Issue 16/21)
Accession to Harare Protocol by Seychelles
On August 26, 2021, Seychelles deposited its Instrument of Accession to ARIPO on for the Harare Protocol. Seychelles becomes the 19th member state party to the Harare Protocol (patents, industrial designs and utility models).

Seychelles becomes a member of ARIPO with effect from January 1, 2022.


Jul 01, 2021 (Newsletter Issue 13/21)
Accession to Banjul Protocol on Marks by Gambia
On May 3, 2021, the Government of the Republic of Gambia deposited its Instrument of ratification to the Banjul Protocol on Marks with ARIPO. In accordance with the provisions of the Protocol, the latter enters into force, with respect to the Republic of Gambia, on August 3, 2021.

Pursuant to the above, with effect from August 3, 2021, Gambia is eligible for designation for applicants under the Banjul Protocol.

The Ratification of the Banjul Protocol by Gambia brings the number of Member States party to the Protocol to twelve.


Oct 08, 2020 (Newsletter Issue 16/20)
Accession to Lusaka Agreement by Mauritius
On September 25, 2020, the Republic of Mauritius deposited its Instrument of Accession to the Lusaka Agreement of December 9, 1976 establishing the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) with the Director General of ARIPO.

In accordance with Article XVI (3) of the Lusaka Agreement, Mauritius became a full member of ARIPO but has not yet acceded to the Harare or Banjul Protocols. Therefore, Mauritius cannot be designated in trademark, design or patent applications filed via the ARIPO system.

At present, Mauritius' new Industrial Property Act 2019 does not contain provisions on the recognition of intellectual property rights granted through the ARIPO system. This would need to be changed in order to accede to the Harare or Banjul Protocols.


May 28, 2020 (Newsletter Issue 8/20)
Accession to Banjul Protocol on Marks by Mozambique
On May 15, 2020, the Government of the Republic of Mozambique deposited its Instrument of Accession to the Banjul Protocol on Marks with the Director General of ARIPO. In accordance with the provisions of the Protocol, the latter will enter into force, with respect to the Republic Mozambique, on August 15, 2020.

Pursuant to the above, with effect from August 15, 2020, Mozambique will be eligible for designation.

It is worth noting that Mozambique had already enacted provisions in its Intellectual Property Code (Decree Nr. 47/2015 of 31 December 2015) that would allow the immediate implementation of the Banjul Protocol if it became party to the Protocol (domestication of the Protocol).

The accession to the Banjul Protocol by the Republic of Mozambique brings the number of Member States party to the Protocol to Eleven.


Feb 06, 2020 (Newsletter Issue 1/20)
Amendments to Banjul Protocol and Harare Protocol Adopted
The ARIPO Administrative Council adopted the amendments to the Banjul Protocol on Marks and the Harare Protocol on Patents and Industrial Designs as well as its Implementing Regulations. Both amendments came into force on January 1, 2020.

For more information, please click on the link for Banjul Protocol and Harare Protocol


Jul 11, 2019 (Newsletter Issue 9/19)
African Continental Free Trade Agreement in Force
On July 7, 2019, the operational phase of the African Continental Free Trade Area has been launched of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU).
The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) will be governed by five operational instruments, i.e. the Rules of Origin; the online negotiating forum; the monitoring and elimination of non-tariff barriers; a digital payments system and the African Trade Observatory.

The AfCFTA agreement was adopted and opened for signature on March 21, 2018 and entered into force on May 30, 2019, thirty days after having received the twenty-second instrument of ratification on April 29, 2019, in conformity with legal provisions.

The AfCFTA will be one of the largest free trade areas since the formation of the World Trade Organisation, given Africa’s current population of 1.2 billion people, which is expected to grow to 2.5 billion by 2050, across all 55 member States of the African Union.

For more Information, please check here


Nov 15, 2018 (Newsletter Issue 19/18)
New Trademarks Act in Malawi
The Malawian Trademarks Bill 2017 became officially law on October 1, 2018, in the form of the Trademarks Act, 2 of 2018 (the Act), announced in an extraordinary Gazette dated October 24, 2018.

The Act replaces the outdated Trade Marks Act 1957, which was based on the UK Trade Marks Act 1938. Some of the changes can be seen below:
- The concept of a trade mark is far broader – the term ‘trade mark’ makes reference to a ‘non-visual sign’ that is ‘sufficiently described in a clear, precise, intelligible and objective manner’, and that is capable of distinguishing.
- Protection for services is now possible.
- Provision for the registration of collective marks, certification marks and Geographical Indications.
- Refusals can be on the basis of earlier registrations covering similar goods or services, as well as well-known marks.
- Infringement right extends to use in relation to similar goods or services.
- Registration and renewal terms of 10 years.
- Registrations can be cancelled on the basis of five years non-use and use by a recorded licensee will be sufficient.
- There is an unfair competition action.
- There are criminal offences, with ten-year prison terms possible for infringements.
- There is provision for licence recordal based on quality control, and assignments without goodwill.

Part IX of the Act focuses on International Registration of Trademarks. This part says that where Malawi ratifies or accedes to any international instrument relating to trade marks the Minister must take certain procedural steps, one of which is to list the international instrument in the Second Schedule of the Act. The Second Schedule of the Act refers to both the Banjul Protocol (the ARIPO trade marks treaty) and the Madrid Protocol.

For further information, please check the update of Spoor & Fisher here


Oct 30, 2018 (Newsletter Issue 18/18)
Accession to Madrid Protocol by Malawi
On September 25, 2018, the Government of Malawi deposited with WIPO its instrument of accession to the Madrid Protocol, containing:

- the declaration extending the refusal period to 18 months and making it possible to notify refusals based on opposition after the expiry of that period (Article 5(2)(b) and (c) of the Madrid Protocol);
- the notification indicating that Malawi requires a declaration of intention to use the mark when Malawi is designated in an international application or a subsequent designation (Rule 7(2) of the Common Regulations under the Madrid Agreement and the Madrid Protocol);
- the notification indicating that the recording of licenses in the International Register shall have no effect in Malawi (Rule 20bis(6)(b) of the Common Regulations under the Madrid Agreement and the Madrid Protocol). Consequently, a license relating to an international registration shall be recorded in the national Register of the Office of Malawi in order to have effect in that Contracting Party.

The Madrid Protocol, this declaration and these notifications will enter into force, with respect to Malawi, on December 25, 2018.

For more information, please click here


Sep 20, 2018 (Newsletter Issue 16/18)
Regional IP Database Launched
On September 10, 2018, the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) launched a Regional Intellectual Property (IP) Database at the ARIPO Headquarters in Harare, Zimbabwe. The IP database is free and easy to access for searches by IP Agents and anyone who wishes to find information or register trademarks, industrial designs or patents.

The ARIPO Regional IP Database has information from ARIPO, Botswana, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

To access the database, click here


May 22, 2018 (Newsletter Issue 10/18)
Malawi Trademark Act 2018 Not in Force Yet
As reported earlier, the new Malawi Trademarks Act (2018) has been published on February 2, 2018. It will repeal the existing Trademark Act of 1957.

However, the Trademark Act 2018 is not yet in force, as no subordinate laws (ordinances) have been enacted. This is expected to take some time, at least one year. Until then, the Trademark Act of 1957 still applies.


May 22, 2018 (Newsletter Issue 10/18)
Cautionary Notices in Somalia
Somalia has no formal intellectual property legislation. However, it has become possible to publish cautionary notices in various local newspapers in both English and Somali. It is also possible to publish cautionary notices in Somaliland, the territory in northern Somalia that declared independence from Somalia in 1991. Although Somaliland is not formally recognised, it enjoys relative stability and it does have an effective government in place.


Apr 26, 2018 (Newsletter Issue 8/18)
New Trademarks Act by Malawi Adopted
The new Malawi Act (Trademarks Act, 2018) repeals the existing Trademarks Act of 1957. It was published on February 2, 2018.

The Act caters for a number of fields that were not or poorly covered by the Act of 1957. Among those fields are the protection of service marks, registration of collective marks, certification marks and Geographical Indications. The Act provides also for criminal offences that may attract fines and/or imprisonment up to ten years in cases of infringement.

Noteworthy, the Act has formally domesticated the Banjul Protocol on Marks in the framework of ARIPO. Section 60 under Part IX of the Act (International Registration of Trademarks) stipulates that “Registration of trademarks in Malawi pursuant to the Banjul Protocol shall be made in accordance with the Third Schedule hereto”.

The Third Schedule hereto referred sets out the procedures relating to ARIPO trademarks. The Schedule provides among other things that “An application in which Malawi is a designated state which is accepted by the Trademarks Office (established by the Act) shall be registered by the Office (ARIPO Office) and published as accepted by Malawi in the ARIPO Journal”.

The Act can be seen on ARIPO website here


Oct 24, 2017 (Newsletter Issue 18/17)
Close to Join the Banjul Protocol by Mozambique
On September 19, 2017, the Council of Ministers of Mozambique approved a resolution for Mozambique to accede to the Banjul Protocol. The Banjul Protocol on Trade Marks provides for the filing of a single trade mark application at the ARIPO Office (African Regional Industrial Property Organization), which will cover any member state designated by the applicant.

The next step is the deposit of the instruments of accession with the Director General of ARIPO. Currently there is no prevision of when such will happen. After the instruments are deposited, the Protocol will come into force within 3 months.


Apr 12, 2017 (Newsletter Issue 7/17)
New IP Law Entered Into Force in Gambia
The current Industrial Property Act of Gambia entered into force on April 2, 2007. One of the changes brought in by the law was a 10 year renewal term, whereas the renewal term under the previous law was 14 years.

The transitional provisions of the 2007 Industrial Property Act state that all “old law” cases (i.e. all cases filed before April 2, 2007) must either be renewed within ten years of the new law coming into effect, (i.e. by April 2, 2017), or at the end of their current 14-year term, whichever period first expires. This applies not only to cases that were filed and completed under the 1916 Act, but also to those that were filed under the 1916 Act and were completed, or are still pending, under the new law. On renewal, the law also requires the application/registration to be re-classified from the old British to the International classification.

There is a six-month grace period for renewal, which will expire on October 2, 2017.

For further information, please see here

Source: Spoor & Fisher, South Africa

Dec 06, 2016 (Newsletter Issue 22/16)
IP Act of Liberia Changed
The new Liberian Industrial Property Act, 2014 (“the New Act”) was approved by the Liberian House of Representatives on June 14, 2016 and is now in force. The new Act repeals both the Copyright Act of Liberia 1997 and the Industrial Property Act of Liberia, 2003 (“the 2003 Act”) and provides for the protection of Copyright, Trade Marks, Geographical Indications, Industrial Designs, Patent and Utility Models and lay-out designs of Integrated circuits.

The Regulations are still being drafted and there is, accordingly, still some uncertainty regarding a number of aspects. Some of the amendments of the New Act are:
- Provision for the filing of international applications under the Madrid Protocol are made.
- Provision is also made for honest concurrent user applications.
- The registration of non-traditional trademarks, including colour and shape marks and Certification marks has been defined.
- Collective marks are redefined.
- A wide range of circumstances in which a trademark cannot be registered is provided.
- The New Act entitles the registered proprietor to prevent an unauthorised third party from using the mark under certain conditions.
- Use of an identical or similar mark to the registered trademark, in the course of trade for non-commercial purposes may constitute trademark infringement.
- Protects the advertising value of a trademark.
- Stipulation of a number of acts which shall be regarded as use of the mark in the course of trade, including the use of a mark in oral communications, irrespective of the means of communication or media used.
- Sets out various acts which shall not constitute trademark infringement, such as the parallel importation of genuine goods, provided that the goods and its packaging or wrapping have not suffered any alteration or damage.
- Any interested person may request the Director General to invalidate the registration of a trademark in relation to some or all of the goods or services for which the trademark has been registered.
- A registered trademark may be vulnerable to cancellation.
- A well-known distinctive mark shall be infringed by the unauthorised use of a mark identical or confusingly similar to that distinctive mark, where such use would indicate a connection between the goods and services of the owner of the well-known mark or the reputation of the mark or its owner is likely to be damaged by such use.
- The Act lists factors which shall be taken into consideration to determine whether a mark is well-known.
- It is stated that a mark will be considered to be well-known if it is generally known in one relevant sector of the public.
- Licensing of a registered trademark is recognized and licence agreements must provide for the effective control by the licensor, of the quality of the goods or services of the licencee in connection with which the mark is used. If the agreement does not provide for such quality control, or such control is not effectively carried out, the agreement will be invalid.
- Assignments shall be in writing and duly executed.

For further information, please see here

Source: Adams and Adams, South Africa

Sep 13, 2016 (Newsletter Issue 16/16)
New Design Act for Zambia
Zambia has passed into law the new Industrial Design Act no 22 of 2016 repealing the Registered Designs Act of 1958. The new Design Act came into force on June 6, 2016.

Some of the new provisions contained in the new Act are as follows:
- Worldwide novelty requirements;
- Grace period and exceptions in respect of disclosure of the design in order to comply with novelty requirements;
- Restoration of rights lost due to non-payment of maintenance fees;
- Amendment of a design application and
- Opposition of design registration by 3rd party including the state.

The new Act also introduced changes in respect of the term of a registered design. The 1958 Act provided for a registration term of five years extendable upon payment of renewal fees for two further five year terms.

According to the new Act, the term of registration is five years from the filing date renewable upon payment of renewal fees for a further period of five years. Furthermore, while the 1958 Act made provision for foreign filing licence in respect of new foreign design applications by a person ordinarily resident or domiciled in Zambia, the 2016 Act is silent in this regard.


May 02, 2016
Implementing Regulations Revised
ARIPO recently revised the Implementing Regulations concerning trademarks, patents, and industrial designs, with the amendments entering into force on January 1, 2016.

The definition of a trademark was broadened to include non-conventional trademarks. However, many issues relating to the examination and enforceability of non-conventional marks remain unclear. E-filing of trademark applications is expected to be implemented in the future, with paper filing remaining an option. Another important development is the introduction of a time limit for responding to office actions. The new time limit is set for two months allowing for the standardization of the registration process.


Mar 16, 2016 (Newsletter Issue 5/16)
Trademark Opposition Hearings No Longer Available in Botswana
On January 26, 2016, the Companies and Intellectual Property Authority (CIPA) announced that it no longer has the capability to conduct hearings for trademark oppositions and invalidations. The reason given was that due to recent restructuring, CIPA had lost staff members essential to the operation of these hearings.

No time period has been given as to when CIPA will regain the capability to conduct such hearings. However, assurances have been made that an interim solution is currently being investigated. For the time being, CIPA will receive and acknowledge the trademark oppositions and invalidations lodged with their office.

As a long-term solution, CIPA intends to review the Industrial Property Act of 2010 with a view to incorporating provisions for a Trademarks Tribunal, not unlike that of its neighbor, South Africa. Substantial delays can be expected.

Source: INTA Bulletin, March 1, 2016, Vol. 71, No. 4
Spoor & Fisher, South Africa as contributor and Remgro Management Services Ltd, South Africa as verifier

Mar 16, 2016 (Newsletter Issue 5/16)
Accession to the Banjul Protocol by Sao Tome and Principe
Sao Tome and Principe became the 19th member of the ARIPO on May 19, 2014. However, the implementation of the ARIPO international filing system requires an accession to the Harare and Banjul Protocol, and this was executed by Sao Tome and Principe in two stages:

1) Accession to the Harare Protocol on Patents and Designs

Sao Tome and Principe deposited its Instrument of Accession to the Harare Protocol on Patents and Industrial Designs within the Framework of ARIPO on May 19, 2014. This brings the number of active ARIPO Member States which are parties to the Harare Protocol (on Patents and Designs) to 18.

Following the accession to the protocol, it has become possible for residents of the Sao Tome and Principe to file Patent and Industrial Design applications with ARIPO as a receiving Office.

2) Accession to the Banjul Protocol on Marks

On November 27, 2015, Sao Tome and Principe deposited an Instrument of Accession to the Banjul Protocol on Marks.

The Banjul Protocol entered into force, with respect to Sao Tome and Principe on February 27, 2016, and with effect from February 27, 2016, Sao Tome and Principe becomes eligible for designation as a Member States under the Banjul Protocol.

The accession of the Banjul Protocol by Sao Tome and Principe brings the number of Member States party to the Protocol to ten (10). Residents of Sao Tome and Principe will be able to file trademark applications with ARIPO as a receiving Office.


Jan 20, 2016 (Newsletter Issue 1/16)
Official Fees Increased/Other Developments
An ARIPO Administrative Council Session took place in Zambia in November 2015. There have been significant developments regarding trademarks, designs and patents including fee increases as from January 1, 2016.
ARIPO trade marks are governed by the Banjul Protocol on Marks and the implementing Regulations. The Regulations were updated on November 17, 2015, and the following changes and clarifications were made:

Mark: The definition of a ‘mark’ has been broadened to include ‘a sign, name, word, device, brand, heading, level signature, letter, numeral or a combination thereof’ - Rule 1.

Specifications: Specifications must be confined to 50 words. Additional words will incur a surcharge of USD 5 per word - Rule 3.3

Electronic Filing:
- In the future electronic filing of marks will be possible, although paper filing will remain an option - Rule 5 bis (1).
- The Regulations will apply to electronic filings as they do to paper-based applications, but ‘Administrative Instructions’ will be created to deal with specific issues regarding electronic applications, such as acknowledgments of receipt, the allocation of filing dates, and the signature of documents - Rule 5 bis (2) and (3).
- No member state is obliged to receive or process ARIPO applications filed electronically unless it has notified the ARIPO Office that it is prepared to do so in compliance with the provisions of the Administrative Instructions. Once it has done so, however, it cannot refuse to process an application filed electronically - Rule 5 bis (4) and (5).

Time Limits: An applicant will have a period of two months to respond to a notice informing it that its ARIPO application has been refused in a particular state. The state in question will then have a period of two months to respond to the applicant’s representations. If the state fails to respond in time, ARIPO will proceed with registration of the mark in that country - Rule 11.3.

Fees:The official fees have been changed as of January 1, 2016. We will inform you as soon as more details are available.

Source: Spoor & Fisher, South Africa

Mar 31, 2015 (Newsletter Issue 5/15)
E-Services Now Available
ARIPO has implemented the web based Intellectual Property Administration System (POLite+, the ICT Infrastructure Modernization Project for ARIPO and its Member States, sponsored by KOICA, a development Organization of the Republic of Korea).

When fully functional, the system will enable users to file patent, trademark, utility model and design applications and also conduct searches on-line.

The overall system will consist of:
Online Services (
This is a public service module where members of the public can access online services like Quick Search, Advanced Search, IP Forms, Journals etc without having to register with ARIPO.

Though on the same page as public areas, this is a members-only area where members will require registration and acceptance by ARIPO. This facility allows for online filing of IP files, online payment of fees, sending and receiving notifications and general tracking of filed applications.

The system has been available since March 9, 2015. However, available menus at the moment are the following:

- Sign Up
- IP Digital Library
- Information
- Fee Schedule
- User Guide

To enter the system, please click here


Oct 01, 2011 (Newsletter Issue 11/11)
Rwanda Joins ARIPO
Rwanda has become the latest African country to join the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO). The country deposited its Instrument of Accession on 24 June 2011 and the Harare Protocol entered into force on 24 September 2011.

ARIPO is a regional organisation which provides a central system for registration of patents, trademarks and designs in all member countries. ARIPO now has 17 active member countries. These include Botswana, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Source: Adams and Adams, South Africa

Oct 01, 2010 (Newsletter Issue 15/10)
Ugandan Trademark Act Approved
Ugandan President has approved the Trademark Bill of the Ugandan Parliament thus passing into law the Ugandan Trademark Act 2010.

The Act includes protection for service marks and was published in the Official Gazette in September 2010 as a supplement. It is unclear when the act becomes in force.


The history of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) goes back to some English speaking African countries wanting to pool their resources in intellectual property matters by establishing a regional organization.
The Lusaka Agreement of December 1976 merely created ARIPO. Additional legal instruments had to give the organization specific functions to perform on behalf of member states.
Additional legal instruments are:
(a) The Protocol on Patent and Industrial Designs within the Framework of the African Regional Industrial Property Organization (the Harare Protocol);
(b) The Banjul Protocol on Marks of 1993;
(c) Amendments to the Banjul Protocol on Marks, which entered into effect on 1 January 2020.

Simultaneous trademark protection by a common registration in all ARIPO member states will be possible only when all states have signed the Banjul Protocol (at the moment only Botswana, Cape Verde, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Sao Tome and Principe, Eswatini, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe). However, only Botswana, Liberia, Malawi, Namibia and Zimbabwe have incorporated the provisions of the Banjul Protocol in their national laws. Accordingly, there are doubts regarding the validity of ARIPO registrations in Lesotho, Eswatini, Tanzania and Uganda. There are also national trademark laws in force in the ARIPO member states.
Trademark protection is obtained by registration.
Botswana, Cape Verde (as of July 14, 2022), Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Príncipe, Seychelles (as of January 1, 2022), Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Eswatini, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Nice classification, 11th edition
The following expressions, denominations or signs may constitute a trademark: a sign, words (including company names, surnames, forenames, geographic names or any other words or set of words), device, brand, heading, level signature, letters and numerals or combinations thereof, devices including fancy devices, drawings and symbols, coloured marks for words, devices or any combination thereof, sounds (transcribed in musical notes or other symbols), olfactory marks, invisible signs that can be recognized by touch (i.e. a sun ray or moon), three-dimensional signs as the shape of goods or their packaging.
The following types of marks are registrable: trade marks, service marks, collective marks and certification marks.
The application must be filed either directly at the ARIPO Office in Harare, Zimbabwe or via the Industrial Property Office of a contracting state. The filing date shall be the date of receipt of the application in the respective office. The official fees must be paid directly to the ARIPO Office in US Dollars at the time the application is filed or accompanied by an undertaking that the fees will be paid within 21 days. Where a national of a contracting state however files an application directly with his national office, he may make payment in local currency.
Multiple-class applications are possible.
Foreign applicants need a local agent.
A non-legalised power of attorney is sufficient.
The application is only examined formally; no search for collisions with prior trademarks is conducted.
The ARIPO office notifies each designated state and further requests each of them to examine the application in accordance with its national laws and notify the ARIPO office of its findings within a prescribed period. On expiration of the prescribed period the ARIPO office publishes the mark for registration in all those countries where it is considered registrable. Three months after publication, the mark will be registered if there has not been any opposition during this time.
The processing time from first filing to registration is approx. 1 year.
The opposition period is 3 months from publication of the trademark application.

The 2020 Amendments to the Protocol brought about significant changes and clarification in respect of ARIPO oppositions. The procedure is a follows:
a) a notice of opposition must be prepared in accordance with the national laws of the designated states concerned;
b) the notice of opposition must be filed with the ARIPO Office and copied to the offices of the designated states within 3 months of advertisement in the ARIPO Journal;
c) the ARIPO Office will transmit the notice of opposition to the relevant designated states;
d) the opposition is decided in terms of the national laws of each state and the decision notified to the ARIPO Office;
e) the decision will be subject to appeal or review in accordance with the national laws of the relevant states; and
f) the ARIPO Office will record the decision and publish it in the ARIPO Journal.

It is however not clear whether extensions of time for filing the notice of opposition will be allowed. It is therefore necessary that notices of opposition are prepared ahead of the deadline for filing.

Opposition against designation of International Registrations
not a member of the Madrid Agreement or Protocol
A trademark registration is valid for 10 years from date of application. It is renewable for periods of 10 years.
Practical details on grace periods for trademark renewals are available in our publication here
Official fees are approved in USD. The basic application fee is USD 100. A class fee of USD 50 for the first class, and USD 50 for each additional class have to be paid per designated state. An official specification surcharge for each word after the 50th word, per class, of USD 5 will be due.
Country Index provides information on the following member states:
SMD Group thanks the following law firms for their assictance in updating the information provided.

Jun 01, 2021
Triebel IP, Pretoria, South Africa

Scanlen and Holderness

74 Jason Moyo Avenue
263 Harare
Zimbabwe (ZW)

African Regional Industrial Property Organization (ARIPO)
11 Natal Road

P.O. Box 4228

Tel +263 0242 794065
Fax +263 47 94 07 2